In my quest to list the albums of the year that I played more than once and didn't sell to the mailman and that recent studies have shown will make you a better person, I give you another unnumbered five quality collections of songs worth humming in your spare time.
Hawley's one of these British guys who likes Lee Hazlewood and sings like Jim Reeves or Chris Isaak, if you want to be less obscure. He sings like the world is about to end if he doesn't find love by the end of the evening. You pray for his liver, since it sounds like he gets a lot of drinking done on the job.
Sometimes she sounds "too religious." She sounds too much like she's trying to "inspire" you by sounding solemn. But at the same time she writes some nice songs that settle on little details that sound incredibly sad. Someone stole her lunch money when she was little and she's never gotten over it. I don't blame her. I'm still bitter about plenty of things too. I'll list them someday.
The National Lights - The Dead Will Walk, Dear (Bloodshake)
These young kids from Poughkeepsie, NY (who I believe have since moved) sing about death in a way that young people often do, which is to say much more often and with much more enthusiasm than people who are old probably would. But they make it sound tragic and sad and if I was their Health Education teacher I'd give them an 'A' for their troubles.
These guys used to just play music so slow you weren't sure if anyone stayed awake until the end. Like the entire set should just be the different band members nudging each other to wake up. But with this album they decided to make a horrific noise that suggests that someone's been killed out in the deep, dark woods and it's probably up to you to go check it out, since everyone else is going to stay here and watch Tivo.
Meg Baird - Dear Companion (Drag City)
Buy a girl a hammer dulcimer and you're just asking for folk music. While many people think of Philadelphia as a place where Tom Hanks walks around aimlessly dying or the place responsible for the '70s soul of Gamble and Huff, there's a new generation of folkies hanging out - those Espers kids - who are determined to churn their own butter and weave their own clothes. With the little electricity they allow themselves, they press up records and keep up the MySpace page. Thanks!
- Lee Hazlewood